Pavlov's Doggy Essay

Submitted By Littleshortcock
Words: 672
Pages: 3

In my experimenting with the Pavlov’s Dog program I found the simplest training pattern to repeatedly produce the desired result of triggering the dog’s salivation without the presence of food. At first, the unconditioned reflex of the animal is observed. This means either the ham or the sausage is selected as the unconditioned stimulus to trigger the dog’s unconditioned reflex of salivation. In each successful trial, I first create a single sound—the horn. This sound represents the neutral stimulus, as it does not produce any type of response from the dog. Next, I repeat the sound then follow that sound with the placement of food in the animal’s bowl—either the ham or the sausage link. During the first two trials, the dog only salivates once the desired food is placed in the bowl. Now by the third trial, upon sounding the horn the dog will salivate before any food is placed in the bowl. This is a successful demonstration of Ivan Pavlov’s serendipitous discovery regarding classical conditioning. The neutral stimulus, the sound, ultimately produces the unconditioned response, the dog’s salivation, thereby transforming the sound into the conditioned stimulus and the salivation into a conditioned response. Repeatedly sounding the horn before giving the dog food facilitated the dog’s learning to associate this specific sound with food causing the dog to salivate. I conducted several variations of this experiment and uncovered a few points worth noting. For example, the experiment would only produce the desired results if either the ham or the sausage links were used to feed the dog. Using bananas simply did not trigger the dog to salivate let alone its interest. In a different experiment, I used a single sound—the horn—to signal the arrival of food twice then the third time I used a different sound—the bell. Usually by the third time a sound is made to signal food the dog salivates before food is presented, but in this trial the dog did not salivate as I had used a different sound for the third trial. This illustrates that the dog developed the ability to discriminate between sounds. He strictly associates the one particular sound used consistently to signal food with food rather than associating all instrumental sounds with food.
Another notable pattern uncovered during the training exercises concerns the consistency of the sound used during the training. In this experiment I alternated between two sounds to signal the arrival of the same food. I noticed that when I alternated between the sound of the horn and the sound of the drum, the dog was not able to associate both sounds with food; however, if I used